This month, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles LLC, has its eyes on the prize with the launch of its inaugural Black Supplier Engagement Forum, an initiative created to strengthen business ties with minority business associations. The launch event, timed for the company?s Black History Month celebration, took place at FCA headquarters in Auburn Hills, Michigan where representatives from Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, and Plunkett and Cooney led a half-day program of sessions that focused on succession planning and access to capital. 50 certified African-American business owners from the Michigan Black Chamber of Commerce were in attendance.?
According to FCA officials, the new forum is a viable symbol of FCA?s long-standing track record with promoting diversity throughout the company. Since 1983, the company has purchased nearly $58 billion from diverse suppliers, and last year, FCA US spent nearly $3 billion with approximately 230 minority-, women- and veteran-owned suppliers, representing over 8 percent of the Company’s total annual purchasing.??
“Today’s forum is just the beginning of a new initiative in the supplier diversity group where we want to create more customized opportunities to interact with minority-owned businesses to promote growth and collaboration,” said Scott Thiele, Chief Purchasing Officer ? FCA Global. “The more we can get one-on-one with diverse companies, who can bring new ideas to the table, the better our businesses will be in the long term.”
And FCA is not stopping there. The company has plans to expand its diversity efforts by pursuing similar supplier diversity programs targeting the Great Lakes Women’s Business Council, the National Veteran Business Development Council, the Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and other minority business groups.?
“Strategic programs that provide access to more than 106,000 African-American businesses in Michigan, with development opportunities tied to a major automotive industry player, are an excellent way to help build up the state and region’s economy,” said Dr. Ken L. Harris, President and CEO of the Michigan Black Chamber of Commerce, Inc. “This is just the beginning of what the black business community envisions as a long-term partnership with FCA US, where we can match our member businesses, which demonstrate capacity, scope and scale with their purchasing needs, to create a mutually beneficial relationship that encourages value incentives in the entrepreneurial landscape.”